How to Save Money on a Road Trip

Ah, the summer road trip. A fun, freeing way to traverse the country, see the sights, and…go totally broke before Labor Day?

While a road trip may be a more affordable vacation option then say, a European cruise or a private jet around the world, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be wallet-friendly. Without taking the proper precautions, you may inadvertently spend way more on an automobile adventure than you intend to. But taking just a few points into consideration can spare you an unpleasant surprise when that post-trip credit card bill comes through at summer’s end.

Here are the top five tips for saving money on a road trip

  1. Plan, plan, plan.
  2. Sure, flying by the seat of your pants may sound glamorous and exciting, but going wherever the wind takes you will likely take you down an unnecessarily expensive rabbit hole of wrong turns and sky-high hotel rates. Take some time before you take off to plan your route and maybe even eye the restaurants you might want to stop at along the way. Booking hotel accommodations in advance will help you sidestep last-minute price hikes, and getting to know your path before you get on the road may prevent accidental off-course exits that require a lot more gas than you budgeted for.

  3. Download money-saving gas apps.
  4. Speaking of that gas tank—long drives can result in shockingly frequent stops to fill up, and prices can vary a ton depending on where you go. Luckily, there are several apps on the market that take the guesswork out of gassing up. Gas Buddy and Gas Guru are two apps that helps you locate the cheapest fueling stations in your area, and community-based app Waze offers real-time traffic information and current gas prices.

  5. Stock up on snacks the smart way.
  6. Look, we all love a good mini-mart shopping spree, but buying up chips, drinks, gum, and that irresistible-but-sure-to-break-in-two-seconds pair of sunglasses at every stop isn’t a great idea. Stock up on water and snacks in bulk before you hit the road, and if you absolutely have to satisfy a sudden Slurpee craving, put yourself on a strict one-item-per-stop regimen and resist the urge to impulse buy.

  7. Get a pre-trip tune-up.
  8. The worst way to spend a road trip? Stranded by the side of the road. Avoid the inconvenience, hassle, and major buzzkill of an unexpected breakdown by hitting up a local mechanic before you leave. Seeing someone you trust will also lessen the chance for getting swindled by overpriced services on unfamiliar turf.

  9. Pack the essentials.
  10. Again, this is where a little preparation and a pre-trip Costco outing or Amazon order come in handy. Even if you’re road tripping to a major destination with plenty of shops, you can save tons of cash on essentials like sunscreen and batteries if you buy them in advance.

The most important must-have for a flawless road trip? Car insurance that has you covered. So, if you haven’t made the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance, visit www.metromile.com for a free quote today.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

5 Things You Could Do With the Money You Save Using Metromile

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? *crickets* Yeah, same. But hey, we’re not judging – in fact, we’re here to help! Did you know that on average, Metromile customers save $611 per year? If one of your resolutions this year was to save money (and honestly, when has that not been a resolution), then settle in and get cozy. We put together this list to show you all the things you can do with the money you save by switching to Metromile!

5-Things-You-Could-Do-With-the-Money-You-Save-Using-Metromile

5 Things You Could Do With Your Metromile Savings

    1. Deposit more into your 401k. Getting into some seriously sexy money talk right out of the gate. I like it. If your 401k hasn’t been getting the love it deserves, take that extra dough and up your monthly contributions. You won’t be missing the money (because it’s what you were already paying with your previous insurance company) and it will help your future, retired self! By contributing to your retirement fund at a young age, you will turn yourself into a millionaire by the time you retire at age 65.

    2. Pay down debt. Sexy money talk, part II. Having debt is a totally normal thing, so there doesn’t need to be all this unnecessary shame surrounding it. Face your debt head-on and see which payments are the highest interest, and pay those off first. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can tackle your debt if you consistently, and even somewhat aggressively, put money towards it.

    3. Create an “Experience Fund.” Okay, now that sexy money business is out of the way, we’re into the fun stuff. Instead of creating a vacation fund, try out an “experience fund” instead. Life is about creating experiences, beyond those knock-down-drag-out, five-star vacations. This includes weekend excursions, social events, and pretty much anything that you can come away with an epic story. The best conversations and stories with friends revolve around experiences, not just a bunch of stuff that looks pretty. Use the extra money you save by switching to Metromile and get experiencing!

    4. Put a down payment on a new car. Or buy out your car lease (like I did!). Having an extra chunk of change means you can get ahead of certain things you’ve been putting off, like getting a new car. If it’s time for an upgrade, use that extra coin you’ve been saving from your Metromile switch and put it towards that car you’ve been dreaming of!

    5. Invest it. It’s a myth that you need a ton of money to invest in the stock market. You can still make financially sound investments, even if you only have a couple hundred dollars kicking around. With apps like Acorns, you can take a small amount and gradually invest it, without having to do any upfront legwork. This means that you can literally be making money in your sleep – all by investing the money you’ve saved by switching to Metromile! Go you!

Now that you have all of these great ideas, you have no reason not to make the switch to Metromile! Up those 401k contributions, pay down your debt, or set up an experience fund – the choice is yours (+ all that extra money!). What will you do with the money you save by switching to Metromile? We’d love to know!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

How to Pay it Forward this Holiday Season with Your Metromile Savings

The gift-giving holiday season is right around the corner. This time of year is always so special because it is the perfect opportunity for loved ones to shower each other with tokens of affection. But, it is also a good time to give back to your community or someone in need. From big to small, acts of kindness can really make a huge difference in someone’s day and even have a big impact on the upcoming year ahead.

How to Pay it Forward this Holiday Season with Your Metromile Savings

Here’s a thought: why not use your Metromile savings to pay it forward this holiday season? Many of our customers are saving an average of $500 a year by switching to pay-per-mile insurance. Already using your Metromile savings for something else? No big deal, you don’t have to buy something to bring holiday cheer to someone’s life. Here are our top tips for paying it forward this holiday season.

    1. Donate old items that you don’t have use for anymore to those in need. This can includes clothes, shoes, furniture, books, kitchen supplies, electronics, blankets, school supplies, old movies, unused toiletries, or even loose change. There are many local donation centers that make it very easy to drop off items such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, or even local churches or shelters.

    2. Put pen to paper and send a warm fuzzy letter. Write a nice card or letter to someone who is down on their luck or had a rough year, uplifting them. You can even send military cards to recognize and thank those who serve our country. Or anonymously leave an encouraging note in a random place for someone to find. Every small bit of positivity you put into this world helps.

    3. Volunteer your time with the elderly. Many times elderly folks end up alone during the holiday season. Most assisted living homes have drop-in volunteer hours, so do some research in your area. You can always bring flowers to a retirement home, organize a group caroling session for those in the hospital or even just sit and spend time playing games or reading with them. Programs like Meals on Wheels or Create the Good are a great place to start.

    4. If you are shopping, shop for gifts that give back. There are many amazing companies out there that will donate a percentage of the total cost of items to charities. For every product purchased, The Giving Keys, supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness. Proceeds from every S’well water bottle purchased goes towards efforts to provide clean water and sanitation facilities around the world. If you buy a pair of glasses through Warby Parker, they will donate to nonprofits who help to train people in developing countries to sell glasses and perform basic eye exams. Even Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchases to charitable organizations of your choice through the AmazonSmile program.There are so many companies that give back, do some research before you buy all your gifts to see how your gifts can help someone in need.

    5. Keep it simple and do small acts of kindness. Buy the next person in line’s coffee or pay the toll for the driver behind you. Give a homeless person your doggie bag, so they can eat your leftovers. Leave extra coins at the laundromat, for someone who might be struggling. Bake cookies or bring doughnuts in for your co-workers, to bring a smile to their face. Pick up a piece of trash and throw it away to help clean up the environment. Give kudos or positive feedback to someone who provided you awesome service. Put your neighbor’s trash can back for them. Leave a generous tip to a waiter who gave you a great experience. All these acts can really go a long way to bring someone holiday cheer.

We hope this small list of holiday cheer can help you pay it forward this season and make someone’s day! Metromile wishes everyone a heartwarming holiday season.

10 Tips for Saving Money on Car Insurance

We all know that car insurance is a really expensive, but necessary expense. States like New York and Michigan can cost drivers upwards of $4,400 a year to have car insurance. This doesn’t help especially when you are living the big city life and already have to pay for all those costly city expenses. If you do some research and are prepared you can save some money, which is why we’ve gathered our top 10 tips for saving money on your car insurance.

How to save money on car insurance

    1. Change your coverages. Is your car getting older? Consider make it liability only coverage and removing comprehensive and collision coverage. Evaluate how much your car’s market value is and then think about if you car is worth paying for coverage that may only reimburse you for a little amount. Going down to liability only coverage for your older car will help to save on the overall amount you spend on car insurance.

    2. Get your credit score in tip-top shape. Having a great credit score can lead to cheaper rates on your car insurance. There are some states that don’t take this into consideration, but definitely use it to your advantage when getting quotes.

    3. Increase your deductible amount. Having higher deductibles amounts can lead your rates to decrease slightly. However, make sure you are choosing what is the best fit for your lifestyle.

    4. Switch to pay-per-mile car insurance. 65% of drivers pay higher premiums to subsidize the minority who drive the most. If you are a low mileage driver and drive less than 10,000 miles per year than you can save on average $500 with Metromile.

    5. Don’t let your insurance coverage lapse. Having a lapse in coverage can cause your rates to increase when signing up for insurance again. But, also having continuous coverage can help to lower your rates in the long run.

    6. Drive safe on the roads. Accidents can cause your rates to increase. By being a safe driver you are rewarding yourself with extra money in your pocket. Being accident free can help you qualify for a safe driver or good driver discount.

    7. Do your research.
    Find the best policy that is going to fit your needs and help you save. Seek out which companies offers discounts based on your experiences. Don’t be afraid to get quote happy.

    8. Look into rates for the vehicle you are shopping around for. Cars that are a bit older typically cost less than those vehicles that are brand new. You can also call your insurance company and get quotes on various vehicles you are considering before making your purchase on your next car.

    9. Ask about discounts that are offered. Usually when you sign up, the rates might already include the discounts that apply to you. But taking the time to make a call to your insurance company can help make sure you are taking advantage of discounts you could be missing out on.

    10. Combine policies. Have one policy per garaging address. Insurance companies usually do require this, but if you do this you could get a multi-car or multi-driver discount. Which will make the overall amount you might pay decrease when combining policies together.

Saving money and making car ownership easier is what we are all about at Metromile, so if you have any questions about the different factors that may affect your rates always know you can give us a call or reach out on Twitter. If you aren’t a pay-per-mile customer yet, see what your savings would be by getting a quick, free quote here.

Trimming the Fat in Your Budget & Actually Saving

The following guest post is written by Erin Lowry, a personal finance expert and founder of well-known blog Broke Millennial. Erin created her blog to increase financial literacy and is known for her smart yet attainable advice to thousands of broke millennials.

save money
You might be familiar with the common tips to automate your savings. It’s actionable advice that sounds great, in theory, but you probably feel like it’s just not possible. Looking at your bank account towards the end of each month makes you think there isn’t possibly a spare penny or two that can be stashed away into savings. Spoiler alert: you’re probably wrong.

You can’t trim the fat without understanding your cash flow

Oh, the joys of budgeting. It’s such a commonly reviled word and practice, and yet, it’s the surest way to reduce your financial stress and get on the right track to building wealth. After all, if you don’t understand the cash flow of how much you have coming in and going out – then how will you ever be able to trim the fat in your budget?

Take 15 minutes to sit down and write out all your fixed monthly bills like housing, cell phone, Netflix, and student loan payments. Add all these charges up and subtract that number from your monthly, post-tax, income. The remainder is the amount you have to work with in terms of both spending and saving. Ultimately, the money you’re saving should be routed directly into savings before it hits your checking account. Hence the delightful expression, “pay yourself first.” Plus, if you aren’t already contributing to an employer-matched retirement program before your money hits your checking account, then that’s a simple way you can start to save a little extra and take advantage of free money!

Do you really need those reoccurring charges?

After establishing the basics of your monthly cash flow, it’s time to comb over your credit card and bank statements to see if there are any reoccurring charges that you don’t use anymore or didn’t even realize were there. It’s so easy to hand over your credit card information in exchange for a free two-week trial of a product and then forget to unsubscribe.

Costs millennials can reconsider

Once cash flow is established and credit cards free of unnecessary reoccurring charges, then it’s time to take a look back at those fixed monthly expenses and decide where to slash in order to free up more room in your budget.

The go-to common offenders are often:

  • Cable: Just cut the cord already. You know you’re primarily using Netflix anyway. Price out how much it would cost just to have Internet because no one needs a landline + cable bundle anymore.
  • Cell phone plan: Shop around and compare costs for your cell phone plan. The biggest financial gains usually come when you’re willing to part ways with the fanciest of phones. Just something to keep in mind if you’re really dedicated to doubling down on saving.
  • Living alone: Surprisingly enough, there are millennials who no longer living with mom and dad. Some are even living alone! Getting a roommate is an easy way to cut bills in half and free up some of your cash flow if you’re struggling to figure out how to save a little extra.
  • Eating out regularly: “I can’t cook” isn’t an excuse. Learn how to make a few dishes well (it’s part of adulthood) and a few dishes that are passable enough to eat. Start brown bagging it to work at least three days a week and eat dinner at home most days. You’ll see a whole bunch of money get added back into your bank account. Brownie points if you cook in bulk during the weekend and stockpile some frozen meals.
  • Insurance: Reducing insurance costs immediately pads your bottom line. Switching your car insurance over to Metromile and paying per mile, instead of a fixed rate for times you aren’t even in the car, could mean finding an extra student loan payment in your budget. Get a free quote here to see just how much you could save.

So, you think you saved your money

Congratulations, you’ve found some extra money month-to-month by slashing expenses and negotiating on existing bills. But are you actually saving your money? The money you’ve freed up needs to be proactively moved to savings. Leaving this spare cash in your checking account just means it will be used for some other non-necessity and not put towards meeting your financial goals. Add this newly found cash to the amount of money you have automatically routed out of your paycheck and into savings before it hits your checking account, because obviously you’ve already set that up in the process of becoming a financial boss.

Spending & Saving in the City

From new pop-up stores and great nightlife to job opportunities and historical landmarks, city living is exciting and exhilarating on a day-to-day basis. However, it can also be very expensive. Here are some easy ways you can save money, so you can enjoy city living without breaking the bank!

city driving

Create a budget. This may seem obvious, but take some time to look at your take-home pay and monthly expenses. By using a software like Mint, you can create savings goals, categorize expenses, and receive custom alerts when you are close to overspending.

Take public transportation, or opt into a bike-share service. The less you drive your car, the more you’ll save money on gas and car maintenance. If you switch to pay-per-mile insurance, you could save even more money because your bill is based on how much you drive. Read more here.

Walk to your local farmers’ market. Since farmers have more stock of in-season fruits and vegetables, they are able to sell them at a lower price. Bonus tip: if you prefer to buy organic, it’s often cheaper at a farmers’ market than at a grocery store.

Eat in (sometimes). Okay, okay. We know it’s fun to try the trendy new restaurants. You can still budget for a weekly dinner splurge, but spend more time in your kitchen. Plus, leftovers make a great lunch the next day!

Automate savings. Have your bank automatically move cash into your savings on payday. You won’t know it’s not there, so you won’t miss it!

Side hustle. With so many new modern conveniences and resource sharing services, you can side hustle on your time with ridesharing, dog walking, house cleaning and more. Or if you’re crafty, try your hand at selling your art on Etsy.

If you are interesting in saving on car insurance, Metromile could save you $500/year! Try getting a quote to see how much you could save.

Tax 101: Know Your Car-related Tax Write-offs

Everyone dreads this time of year…tax season. But programs like Turbo Tax and H&R Block make doing your taxes a lot easier, and even look for deductions you might otherwise miss. For example, do you know all the write-offs available when it comes to owning a car? See below for a list of potential deductions, and be sure to check with your accountant or tax program to see if you are eligible for anything else.

tax write-offs

If you…

  • Use your car exclusively for business purposes, you can write-off expenses like lease, registration fees, gas, oil, repairs, insurance, tolls and parking.
  • Occasionally use your personal car for business, such as driving to a separate work destination or if you are temporarily reassigned to a location further away, you can write-off your mileage.
  • Babysit or do other odd jobs, you can deduct those miles.
  • Attend professional development workshops or are job searching, you can write-off your mileage to those destinations.
  • Volunteer, transportation expenses are considered charitable donations and may be deducted from your income taxes.

To our dismay, traffic tickets are never deductible. But, if you’re looking to save even more money on car expenses, check out our per-mile car insurance. Get a free quote here.

Don’t Drive Much? How to Save (and Even Make) Money

Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you are regularly taking it out for a spin. Perhaps you only use it when you are heading on a road trip, grabbing groceries from the store, or rushing to work when you “didn’t hear your alarm”. When you realize you’ve only clocked 5,000 miles in the past year, you might feel pressed to justify such a large investment. But it’s your car, it’s your way of driving your friends to the beach this weekend. We get it, which is why we compiled some easy ways to keep your car running smoothly and maybe even leverage it to earn some extra cash.

drive less car tips

Try pay-per-mile insurance: If you are a low-mileage driver and drive less than 10,000 miles a year (around 200 each week) you could save a lot of money with pay-per-mile insurance. Your monthly bill is based on the miles you drive, so if you don’t drive much, you won’t pay much. Worried about the occasional road trip? Metromile won’t bill you for more than 250 miles a day (150 in certain states)! If you are interested in seeing how much money you could save, try getting a free insurance quote.

Join a carpool: Chances are you aren’t the only person driving a similar route to work — daily traffic is proof of that. Team up with others in your neighborhood and start a weekly carpool to save on gas and sneak in some valuable work time when you aren’t behind the wheel. There are lots of apps that can aid in this endeavor, like Carma, Ride and even a new pilot from Uber.

Know the basics: There’s no need to spend a lot of time on car maintenance when you aren’t driving much, but there are a few tips to remember in order to avoid costly repairs. Know how to deal with a flat tire and keep your tires properly inflated. It’s also important to change your oil on a regular basis as it keeps your car running smoothly and extends the life of the vehicle. Lastly, fix your brakes if they are squeaky because that likely means the brake lining is starting to wear thin.

Be smart about car storage: If you are leaving your car idle for a long time, the ideal place to store it is in a garage because it prevents theft and also protects against the elements like that blazing summer sun. Garage parking can be expensive, especially in the city, so if you don’t need frequent access to your car you should shop around for the cheapest garage space instead of paying a premium to park in the closest garage. If the most viable option is keeping it outside, consider purchasing waterproof car cover to keep it clean to save on long-term costs of wear and tear.

See My Savings

How to Drive Less (And Save More!) This Year

It’s about that time when those “pie in the sky” resolutions start to fade away. Luckily, you can set new intentions whenever you want! If you are looking for a new (and attainable) goal to work towards this year, we’ve got a great one for you. Start driving less. With a myriad of alternative transportation options (hoverboard, anyone?) it’s easier than ever to reduce your car’s mileage. Driving less will save you a ton of money and also alleviate pollution and traffic. It’s a win for both your wallet and the environment! So without further ado, here are some tips on how to drive less this year.

drive_less_save_more

Get some fresh air. If you live close to where you work, you have the luxury of biking or walking instead of driving. Stop letting excuses like shorter days, tired legs and chillier temperatures prevent you from getting a little exercise every morning. None of these things are deal breakers, and even if you try it once a week or mornings only, that’s still a big improvement from solely relying on your car. Bonus: conquer two goals at once if you resolved to get more fit this year. Your Fitbit will thank you!

Sharing is caring. Chances are you aren’t the only person driving a similar route to work — daily traffic is proof of that. Team up with others in your neighborhood and start a weekly carpool. You won’t have to drive every day, so you’ll save on gas and also sneak in some valuable work or reading time when you aren’t behind the wheel. There are lots of apps that can aid in this endeavor, like Carma and Ride, which match you with nearby commuters. Even tech giants like Uber and Google’s Waze are testing carpooling programs, which could be the driving force needed to make carpooling the norm.

Save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. Now that you are driving less, you could save a ton of money with Metromile. Our pay-per-mile car insurance offering is great for people who drive under 200 miles a week, which happens to be 65% of the U.S.! On average, we are saving our customers $500 a year. Try getting a quick, free quote to see how much you could save.

Give public transit another chance. Maybe you had a bad experience with a bus constantly being late, or assumed public transportation is just too complicated without actually trying it. Cities are working harder than ever to provide reliable and affordable public transportation options, and with transit apps like Quicky and Transit, you’ll be able to accurately gauge bus arrival time, plan routes and more. It’s totally fine to rely on your car when you are running late, but try getting up a few minutes earlier some mornings to catch the bus.

Plan some road trips. We aren’t advocating that you go cold turkey and give up your car entirely. Use some of the money you’re saving and relish in the freedom that owning a car gives you by hitting the open road! Unleash your inner weekend warrior and plan a trip to the mountains for some skiing, or start conjuring plans about where you could drive when the weather gets nicer. Check out our road trip guide for inspiration!

How to Drive Less (And Save More!)

It’s about that time when those “pie in the sky” resolutions start to fade away. Luckily, you can set new intentions whenever you want! If you are looking for a new (and attainable) goal to work towards this year, we’ve got a great one for you. Start driving less. With a myriad of alternative transportation options (hoverboard, anyone?) it’s easier than ever to reduce your car’s mileage. Driving less will save you a ton of money and also alleviate pollution and traffic. It’s a win for both your wallet and the environment! So without further ado, here are some tips on how to drive less this year.

drive_less_save_more

Get some fresh air. If you live close to where you work, you have the luxury of biking or walking instead of driving. Stop letting excuses like shorter days, tired legs and chillier temperatures prevent you from getting a little exercise every morning. None of these things are deal breakers, and even if you try it once a week or mornings only, that’s still a big improvement from solely relying on your car. Bonus: conquer two goals at once if you resolved to get more fit this year. Your Fitbit will thank you!

Sharing is caring. Chances are you aren’t the only person driving a similar route to work — daily traffic is proof of that. Team up with others in your neighborhood and start a weekly carpool. You won’t have to drive every day, so you’ll save on gas and also sneak in some valuable work or reading time when you aren’t behind the wheel. There are lots of apps that can aid in this endeavor, like Carma and Ride, which match you with nearby commuters. Even tech giants like Uber and Google’s Waze are testing carpooling programs, which could be the driving force needed to make carpooling the norm.

Save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. Now that you are driving less, you could save a ton of money with Metromile. Our pay-per-mile car insurance offering is great for people who drive under 200 miles a week, which happens to be 65% of the U.S.! On average, we are saving our customers $500 a year. Try getting a quick, free quote to see how much you could save.

Give public transit another chance. Maybe you had a bad experience with a bus constantly being late, or assumed public transportation is just too complicated without actually trying it. Cities are working harder than ever to provide reliable and affordable public transportation options, and with transit apps like Quicky and Transit, you’ll be able to accurately gauge bus arrival time, plan routes and more. It’s totally fine to rely on your car when you are running late, but try getting up a few minutes earlier some mornings to catch the bus.

Plan some road trips. We aren’t advocating that you go cold turkey and give up your car entirely. Use some of the money you’re saving and relish in the freedom that owning a car gives you by hitting the open road! Unleash your inner weekend warrior and plan a trip to the mountains for some skiing, or start conjuring plans about where you could drive when the weather gets nicer. Check out our road trip guide for inspiration!